Skip to content

All Blog Posts

On Her Majesty’s Sea Island Cotton

by Pivotal Digital 03 Feb 2023
On Her Majesty’s Sea Island Cotton

Forget mere fabrics, Sea Island Cotton is one of the rarest raw materials in the whole world. We’re not surprised you’ve never heard of it.

You’ll want to, though. Because this variety of cotton is so soft and so luxurious, it makes the very best socks and pants on the planet. Ian Fleming was a huge fan, so even James Bond wears (very snug) Sea Island Cotton boxers. Licence to Kill? More like Licence to Frill!

If you want to know more about Sea Island Cotton, keep reading. Where does it come from? What makes it so special? How on Earth does one seriously famous monarch fit into all this? And exactly why is Sea Island Cotton so good for making socks and underwear? Don’t worry, friend, we’ve got you covered.


What makes it so special?

Sea Island Cotton is an example of extra-long-staple cotton... which probably means absolutely nothing to you. Basically, all its individual fibres are longer than 34mm. And the longer the fibres are, the softer the cotton is.

As very few other cottons have a longer staple length, this is one of the softest materials you can wear. Great news for your seat and your feet!

The less good news is that Sea Island Cotton is incredibly rare.

It never used to be that way. Actually, from the 1700s to the 1900s, it was a pretty common variety of cotton. But then an infestation of weevils (ugly bugs with extra-long noses) almost wiped the crop off the face of the planet.

Luckily, they were thwarted in their evil mission. But still, only a very small percentage of the cotton produced today is cultivated from this Sea Island variety. To put it into numbers for you, out of the c. 1 million bales of cotton produced every year across the world, only about 150 are Sea Island Cotton.

So, it’s highly prized for its silky texture, but a pain to get hold of.

We’re sure you can imagine what effect that has on the price. Add on to that the skill it takes to be able to spin long, fine fibres like these, and you’re absolutely looking at a high-end premium product.


Where does it come from?

Sea Island Cotton is derived from the Gossypium barbadense plant. Given its name, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Sea Island Cotton comes from the USA. But although it gets its name from the island group off the coast of South Carolina, you’ve got to go even further south to find where this plant originates from.

Sea Island Cotton is actually native to South America and was first grown down there over 6,000 years ago. US farmers did not start growing it till the 1780s, but that didn’t stop them claiming and naming it for themselves.

These days, we’ve got to be very careful with our Sea Island Cotton crop, because we don’t want to lose it altogether. Cotton specialists preserved the seeds that survived the Sea Island superbug, and now it is grown by a handful of dedicated farmers in the Caribbean.

The climate of the Caribbean is perfect for growing Sea Island Cotton. There, the plants get just the right amount of sunlight, rain, and humidity, and we’re pleased to say they’re thriving!


A person weaving at a wooden table, sea island cotton

Sea Island Cotton - Luxury Socks and Underwear

Every year, once the cotton has been harvested, the 150 bales are sent to expert spinners for weaving. Now, not many people have the skill to turn these fine fibres into even finer items of clothing these days. But thankfully, a few artisans with the magic touch remain.

And once the staples have all been woven together to form a fabric, it’s design time. You can get high-quality Sea Island Cotton shirts, pyjamas, hankies, underwear, and of course, socks. (Our favourite things, in case you couldn’t tell!)

Sea Island Cotton has several qualities that make it the perfect material to manufacture socks and underwear out of, including:


Staple length

To be classed as extra-long-staple cotton, a plant must have fibres that are more than 34mm in length from top to bottom. And the longer the staples are, the softer the fabric is when they’re all woven together. Sea Island Cotton fibres are generally 37mm+, meaning this material makes for an ultrasoft pair of socks.



The fine weave gives Sea Island Cotton fabrics a very even texture. This prevents pilling and helps your pants and socks stay in shape (meanwhile, we still have to go to the gym for that - how unfair).



Not only is Sea Island Cotton one of the softest, kindest things you can wear next to your skin, it’s also supremely long-lasting.

Most of us wear socks and undies every day - well, hopefully, we do, anyway - so these items are the items in our wardrobes that tend to wear out the fastest. Given the price of Sea Island Cotton, though, you really want clothing that’s going to last. Luckily, you’ve found it!



No more cheesy feet! The fine weave of Sea Island Cotton is extremely breathable and will keep your toes nice and cosy without making them sweat.

Not all Sea Island Cotton is equal, though. So, when you’re shopping, remember to look out for the official WISICA (West Indian Sea Island Cotton Association) certification that guarantees the purity of the material used.


From SocksFox with Love

We’re on a quest to bring you the most luxurious socks and underwear from around Europe. And our mission just would not have been complete without mentioning this royally good fabric.

That’s right, Queen Victoria might have been perpetually unamused, but she was certainly very impressed with Sea Island Cotton. This hard-to-please monarch blew her turned-up nose on Sea Island Cotton handkerchiefs. It’s not to be sniffed at, then, eh?

You’ll find an incredible selection of Sea Island Cotton socks and undies on our website. Made by top European brands like Bresciani, Dore Dore, Hanro, Pantherella, and Zimmerli, we promise pants don’t get any fancier than this!

930 x 520px


Sample Block Quote

Praesent vestibulum congue tellus at fringilla. Curabitur vitae semper sem, eu convallis est. Cras felis nunc commodo eu convallis vitae interdum non nisl. Maecenas ac est sit amet augue pharetra convallis.

Sample Paragraph Text

Praesent vestibulum congue tellus at fringilla. Curabitur vitae semper sem, eu convallis est. Cras felis nunc commodo eu convallis vitae interdum non nisl. Maecenas ac est sit amet augue pharetra convallis nec danos dui. Cras suscipit quam et turpis eleifend vitae malesuada magna congue. Damus id ullamcorper neque. Sed vitae mi a mi pretium aliquet ac sed elitos. Pellentesque nulla eros accumsan quis justo at tincidunt lobortis deli denimes, suspendisse vestibulum lectus in lectus volutpate.
Prev Post
Next Post

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Sign Up for exclusive updates, new arrivals & insider only discounts

Recently Viewed

Edit Option
Terms & Conditions

Welcome to SocksFox is owned and operated by Zapzero Ltd (referred to in these terms as SocksFox). We provide access to the website ('website') and sell our products to you subject to the following terms and conditions. The following terms and conditions of sale constitute a binding agreement between SocksFox and its customers, which applies to all purchases made on the website, by telephone or email.

  You agree to review these terms and conditions prior to placing future orders to ensure you are aware of the current terms and conditions in place at that time. You agree not to change these terms of sale from the form presented by us. All other terms and conditions including those in any order submitted by you are expressly excluded and shall have no effect.

1. Your Account

When you use the website, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and password. You should contact us immediately if you have any reason to believe that your password is being, or is likely to be, used in an unauthorised manner.

Please ensure that the details you provide us with are full and correct. Let us know immediately if any changes need to be made to correct the information you provided on registering.

SocksFox reserves the right to refuse access to the website, terminate an account, remove or edit content, or cancel an order at our discretion. If we cancel an order, any payment made will be returned to you.

2. Privacy & Security

We take the security of our customers and website very seriously. We will only collect information about you that you have specifically and knowingly provided, for example your contact details and card information. This information will be used to deliver your ordered products to you, process your payments and communicate with you about your orders.

Zapzero Ltd, utilises a to offer secure communications by encrypting all data to and from our site. The padlock helps you know that you are on an authenticated legitimate website and that your transactions will be secured.

Your payment details and credit card numbers will only be shared with our payment providers Braintree or PayPal for the purpose of processing your orders. When you place an order via our website SocksFox will not be privy to your credit and debit card information. If you place your order by telephone as soon as your payment has been inputted your card details will be securely destroyed and disposed of. SocksFox does not store any credit or debit card information.

We will only send you our offers and product news by email if you have chosen to opt in. You can remove yourself from our mailing list at any time.

View our Privacy information page for more information.


3. Order Process and Contract

All orders submitted by you on the website (or our customer services team by telephone or email) represent an offer for contract. You are seeking to enter into a contract with SocksFox when you place an order. We reserve the right to refuse your offer for any reason.

SocksFox will send you an order confirmation email confirming receipt and details of your order. Your order represents an offer to SocksFox to purchase a product which is accepted by us when we dispatch that product to you.

Only when we dispatch the goods together with a dispatch note will a binding contract be entered. Any products on the same order which have not been dispatched as yet do not form part of that contract.

You can review the details of the orders you have placed and their current status by logging into Your Account. If you choose to shop as a guest you will not be able to review the details of your current or previous orders. 


4. Discount Codes, Special Offers & Gift Cards

Our email newsletter (usually sent fortnightly) and occasionally the website offer promotions, which may require the use of a discount code. Our policy is that only one discount code to be allowed per order.

All discount codes and product special offers unless stated otherwise, will end at 12 noon GMT or BST (whichever is applicable) on the date specified. For all discount codes and offers the end time is always based on GMT or BST. 

The United Kingdom is the governing jurisdiction for SocksFox.

A SocksFox e-gift card discount code can be used across the site, on one occasion only and is valid for six months from the date of e-gift card dispatch.


5. 60 Day No Quibble Returns

You may return any items purchased from us for whatever reason, even if you just change your mind, as long as you send them back within 60 days of receiving them. Products must be returned in their original condition, unworn with tags attached and the packaging undamaged and complete.

To ensure you order the correct size and colour of an item we would advise the following. As different Countries and Brands have their own size systems, before placing an order we advise that you check the size guide provided for each item in the Size Guide tab to ensure you are ordering the correct size. Colour swatch samples and photographs are provided as a guide only. The colour you see on your screen may not be an accurate representation of the item's actual colour due to inconsistencies in how display screens reproduce colours. Ordering the wrong size or a colour not being to your liking does not mean that the item is classed as being faulty.

The cost of return postage for damaged, faulty items or if we have made an error will be refunded to you. Return postage for items you choose to return will not be refunded.

When returning products we advise you use Royal Mail First or Second Class and obtain proof of postage. If you are returning items from overseas we advise you use the equivalent Airmail service provided by your countries postal service and obtain proof of postage. If you choose to return items by a tracked service or courier you need to gain approval from SocksFox, otherwise we will only refund the amount it would have cost to return the items by Royal Mail First or Second Class or the equivalent Airmail service.

For Customs duties on Returned items please also refer to section 8 Customs of our Terms and Conditions.

Gift cards are non-returnable & cannot be refunded.

For more information on our Returns and Cancellation policy please see here.


6. Prices and VAT

All prices quoted are for new products. All prices are based on the Great British Pound (GBP / £) but, for your convenience, can be displayed in the Euro or US Dollar equivalents at ruling exchange rates on the website.

All payments are processed securely through either Braintree or PayPal. Your order payment will be based on the Great British Pound (GBP) amount. When processing your payment you can choose to pay in an alternative currency, to GBP. In this case the amount to be paid may vary slightly as Braintree and PayPal will apply their own exchange rate.

The prices on our website are the same whether you purchase from within the United Kingdom (UK) or from outside of the UK. Within the UK all prices include VAT. For purchases made outside of the UK prices do not have VAT included; the item price you see is the price you will pay.  

All purchases must be paid in full before dispatch. SocksFox will continue to own, and reserve the right to repossess any goods sold from the website until payment has been received and cleared in full.

Whilst we endeavour to ensure all pricing is accurate and correct very occasionally errors may happen. On processing an order if it is realised that the correct price is lower than that stated on the website we will adjust your payment to the lower amount and dispatch your order. If the product's correct price is higher than that stated on the website, we will contact you for instructions before dispatch.


7. Dispatch and Delivery

SocksFox aims to dispatch items the same or next working day. If demand exceeds our stock holding dispatch may be delayed by around 7 working days. If this applies to your order or there is an availability issue we will be in touch by email. At SocksFox, offering an extensive range of styles, colours and sizes at competitive prices to customers in both the UK and Worldwide is what sets us apart from many other retailers. To be able to do this we are unable to hold in stock all items all of the time and in our experience most customers are happy to wait. If immediate dispatch is a priority for you please contact us for current availability.

The postal service selected to deliver your order will be the best one to ensure a successful delivery and a signature may be required as part of that service. All packages are sent using a tracked service. Information on how your package is progressing can be obtained by contacting the SocksFox Customer Service Team.

Estimated Delivery Times: UK Standard Delivery: 2-3 working days; Europe Standard Delivery: 5-7 working days; Rest of the World Delivery: 8-13 working days.

For packages being sent to Europe and the Rest of the World once a package arrives in the destination country for many orders the national postal service will complete the final delivery. If your order has not been delivered by 10 working days from the date of dispatch, 15 working days for Europe & Rest of the World, please contact us and we will look into what has happened to your package.

Whilst most International deliveries are made successfully within the above timeframes unfortunately this is not always the case due to circumstances outside of our control. Sometimes delivery may take up to 6 weeks and for this reason a package is not deemed to be lost until 6 weeks from dispatch have passed.

Non delivery of a package (UK or International) cannot be investigated after 10 weeks from the dispatch date due to carrier tracking limitations. SocksFox will not provide a replacement package or refund if first contact has not been until after 10 weeks from dispatch. 

Any delivery dates are given in good faith. Zapzero Ltd accepts no liability for delays resulting from occurrences outside its control. These include, but are not limited to acts of God, strikes, lockouts and delays by suppliers. Your products will be dispatched to the shipping address as stated in your order confirmation email. It is your responsibility to ensure the shipping address for this order is correct.

It is the customer's responsibility to inform us of any change of delivery address immediately. Unless instructed otherwise your order will be dispatched to the shipping address as shown in the order confirmation email you will have been sent.  SocksFox accepts no liability for dispatch made to the wrong address. Please note that if you request delivery of your order to a designated place (for example in the porch, by the green bin, over the hedge) for if you are out when delivery is attempted and subsequently the order goes missing SocksFox does not accept responsibility for non-receipt.

If delivery of an order is not achieved due to refusal at the delivery destination as nominated by the customer, when the shipment is returned to us a charge will be deducted from your refund to cover any return costs incurred by us.

Please note that due to U.S. Trademark Restrictions we are unable to sell any Burlington items to customers with a U.S. shipping address.

8. Customs

For items ordered for delivery overseas you as the recipient are deemed the importer and you may be liable for local customs, import duties or taxes ('duty'). The amount of duty depends on the type and value of goods and some items can be imported without paying any duty.

For all packages destined for delivery outside of the United Kingdom it is a legal requirement that SocksFox declares the full value of the goods (not including delivery costs).

Each country's customs policies are different and you should contact your local customs office for more information. Any additional costs for clearing customs must be paid by you. Unfortunately we have no control over these costs and cannot predict what they may be.

SocksFox will not be responsible for any local customs, import duties or taxes that may be levied when the goods enter the country of destination.

When returning any goods from overseas, please clearly mark the package on the outside with 'RETURNED GOODS' Unfortunately if any incoming customs charges are incurred as a result of this message not being added a charge will be deducted from your refund to cover the costs incurred by us.

If delivery of a shipment is not possible due to import duties not being paid, when the shipment is returned to us a charge will be deducted from your refund to cover any return costs incurred by us.


9. Your Statutory Rights

Your statutory rights are not affected by these terms.


10. Zapzero Ltd  

Please do not send any returns to the address below, see here for the SocksFox returns address.

Registered Office Address:
1-4 London Road
PE11 2TA
United Kingdom

Registered in England and Wales: 4805063

VAT Registration: 843357028

    this is just a warning
    Login Close
    0 items
    Applies to UK shipping only